Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, loves triggering controversies and dabbling in them – pastimes incompatible with his status as a diplomat.
Representing a serious country acclaimed for the quality of the finesse she employs in managing international relations, Jon is an apology of that attribute. He is known by his often scathing expressions devoid of the veneer diplomats use to cushion the effects of their thoughts.
Having earned notoriety for making remarks dreaded by his predecessors from the Commonwealth and Foreign Service and diplomatic fraternity, he has generated ado over the bloated status of the country’s voter register as occasioned by the DAILY GUIDE story on same a few days ago.
He has succeeded in providing something from his arsenal of mischief by commission or omission to the hawks of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to prosecute their dirty agenda; and they have pounced on it with open hands.
It is unfortunate that Jon is gradually crawling into the gutters of local politics and therefore opening himself up for the appropriate reprisal attacks.
We wish we could treat him as we do his colleague diplomats or better still, we did to his predecessors: we are unable to do so because he has lost the diplomatic deference by his deeds.
A few days ago, DAILY GUIDE was in the news because Jon had subtly cast scum over a story about the Commonwealth and Foreign Office’s position on Ghana’s voter register, reaction which was posted on the site of the Commission.
For the purpose of rehashing the subject, a group of concerned Ghanaians had sought the intervention of the British government on the subject through a correspondence. With the characteristic speed of a serious office, David Cameron’s assign referred the subject to the Commonwealth and Foreign Office which revealing observation formed the basis of a story we put out justifiably as lead item on the front page. There certainly could not have been a better story to lead the paper than that.
Jon’s passion for offering unsolicited lessons on media ethics is amazing. Perhaps he would do well teaching this subject at the Ghana Institute of Journalism or even running seminars for media establishments. That would certainly be more productive than the project he has continued to be engaged in since assuming office as the British envoy to Ghana.
It is important to note that Jon did not question the integrity of the correspondences to and from the No. 10 Downing Street and eventually the Commonwealth and Foreign Office. How sad!
We wish to restrain ourselves from reacting in the manner a newspaper would when an undue effort is made at debasing its integrity. In our edition of yesterday, we stretched the subject further by re-presenting excerpts of the correspondences which Jon, for reasons best known to him, avoided referring to. A rejoinder from the British High Commission neither came to us nor would ever come on the subject, which we find intriguing.
With humility, we state that we could not have concocted a story without basis and risk losing our pedigree of quality and veracity garnered over years of diligence.